'To send a message': Winnipeg police arrest scalpers ahead of Tragically Hip concert

WINNIPEG — Scalping hard to come by tickets is not a new thing, but Winnipeg police want sellers to know if they are looking to cash in big, they could be caught.

Tickets to the Tragically Hip’s farewell tour sold out instantly and almost immediately were available on ticket re-seller sites and open market websites for well above face value.

READ MORE: Tragically Hip tickets in Winnipeg sell out immediately, already on resale on StubHub

The Hip announced in May that frontman Gord Downie had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. The Canadian rock band announced they would tour one last night this summer.

“The announcement of the Tragically Hip’s final concert tour was significant for Canadians and a lot of people are passionate about this group,” said Const. Carver. “In this particular concert we felt that there was kind of a need from a public expectation to be involved. In this instance we felt we had an obligation to address this. So while we don’t do it as a normal course, it was done in this case to send a message.”

On Wednesday, police arrested a 30-year-old man and 31-year-old woman, both from Winnipeg, who were attempting to sell two pairs of tickets to Friday’s Tragically Hip concert for “an amount substantially greater than their original face value.”

“In this instance two individuals both sold a pair of tickets, so 4 tickets in total,” said Constable Rob Carver. “Those tickets had a face value of $117. One individual attempted to sell them for $800 for the pair and the other ended up being bargained down to $680.”

Undercover officers met with two unrelated sellers after responding to advertisements for tickets posted online. Both were issued Provincial Offence Notices for breach of the Amusement Act. Selling tickets for above face value is illegal in Canada.

RELATED: Fake Tragically Hip tickets posted on re-seller website

Police said a lot of resources are needed to actively go after scalpers which is why it is not common practice. However, in this case they felt they had an obligation.

“People sort of feel shut out,” said Const. Carver. “They’ve been waiting online for a couple of hours hoping they are going to get a chance and they find out almost instantly there are no tickets. they feel disgruntled and then are ultimately prepared to pay over face value. But this is a substantial amount over face value.”

The tickets were real and have been seized by police. Both could end up paying a fine of up to $5000. Selling fake tickets is a criminal offence and could result in jail time.





© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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